Friday, May 29, 2009

Is It Possible For A Wine To Have No Flavor?

Tonight, I decided to try a bottle of Italian San Giorgio Sangiovese (sänj-vz) Di Puglia from QFC, because they were pouring Sangiovese at the tasting I went to last weekend.

I poured myself a glass and then my neighbor generously fed me a couple of pieces of delicious Pacific Veggie Pizza from Domino's with added jalapenos and pepperoni.

We started talking and she told me all about our neighbors. Each one has their own unique story, but get this: the guy that used to live above her is on the show Ghost Hunters and used to bring the spirits home with him and sometimes they would visit her in her apartment to hang out with Martini the shitzu. She says they left when he did. Phew!

When the conversation was over, I remembered that I had a glass of wine airing out, but when I went to smell it I couldn't pick up anything. I shrugged it off and took a sip, swirled it around like the pros do and then swallowed, but it
didn't' taste like anything either! I didn't know that was possible.

According to Professional Friends of Wine,
Sangiovese is the base for the well known Italian Chianti blends. They say that it's supposed to be a more subtle medium-bodied wine, but will often have "a strawberry, blueberry, faintly floral, violet or plummy character."

Sounds like it could be delicious! I'll have to give it another try. Any recommendations?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wine Flavored Gum?

I stopped by the gas station on my way home from a wine tasting on Saturday to pick up some gum and a new flavor from Orbit caught my eye: Sangria Fresca. Wine flavored gum? I had to try it.

I'm chewing a piece now and I think I'm picking up tropical fruit and a hint of mint. No red wine though.

Note: Apparently this is just a new-to-me flavor. I came across several blog posts about it from May 2008. I have a feeling this pack has been in the racks at the AM/PM for that long because I've only been chewing this piece for one song and my jaw is already starting to hurt.

However, this experience reminded me that it's sangria season, and if you're in the mood for the real thing, you have a few options:

1) Find a wine shop or restaurant that makes it.
I believe Sarrah Torres from Winestock in Oregon City makes a fresh batches during the summer.

2) Pick up a prepackaged version at the store.
Whole Foods is advertising an all natural red wine version for $6.99!

3) If you're feeling especially adventurous you can make your own.
From what I can tell, there are no real rules to making a good sangria, but here are the basic ingredients:

Red or White wine
Fruit (oranges, peaches, nectarines, etc.)
Sugar (if needed)

Feel free to experiment, just make sure that you have someone fabulous to enjoy it with when you decide to partake. Yes, your own company counts in a pinch!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Visiting Boutique Wine Shop Pays Off

As promised, I began my recovery by braving the Wine Cellar's six year anniversary wine tasting celebration this weekend. (I just noticed that the url of their site is!)

I introduced myself to Erin the shop owner shortly after I got there, who seemed friendly, albeit puzzled by my awkward introduction. She was really busy so I tried to stay out of her way by hovering around the tasting tables making small talk with the people pouring and the other tasters.

I tried perusing the budget racks of the shop myself a couple of times, but was too embarrassed to pick up every bottle and turn it over to look for a price tag.

Eventually, I started to run out of tasting tickets and realized I needed to get home and to let Mr. T out to relieve himself, so I got up the nerve to whisper to the staff person behind the cash register that I was looking to buy something for my blog about wines under $10. Naturally, she said Erin would be the best suited to help me. I cringed as she hustled to the tasting tent to retrieve the shop owner.

Erin was extremely gracious and took me on a quick tour of the budget sections of the shop. Upon her recommendation, I purchased a bottle of Painter Bridge 2007 California Zinfandel for approximately $8.

I took it home and savored it alongside The Secret Life of Bees. (If you've never done this before, I highly recommend pairing a wine and a movie. If you're lucky, like a good food pairing the two will enhance each other.)

Like the movie, this zin doesn't have a lot of the depth, but the characters are endearing and it leaves you with a sense of being home. It's like warm raspberry pie a la mode in a glass. Smooth, jammy--but not too sweet--with hints of vanilla and raisins.

Despite being a zinfandel, this wine is not too heavy for this time of year. In fact, it can go down a little to easy so as Erin suggestes, keep it in the kitchen forcing you to have to get up to refill your glass or it will be gone before you know it!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Budget Wine Snob: Coming to Grips With My Prejudice

Hi, my name is Natalie and I'm a wine snob.

I came face to face with my prejudice on Mother's Day when I took my mom to brunch at Whole Foods.

After enjoying some delicious quiche, maple bacon and a little oj, we decided to take a field trip throug the store--my mom had never been there before.

When we entered the wine section I was surprised to see a variety of featured wines for under $10! I flitted from one display to the next reading the delightful descriptions (so quirky they're worth the trip alone) and investigating the labels.

Naturally, we left the store with a basket full of new budget wines to try. Two that I highly recommend are Mirth 2007 Chardonnay and Our Daily Red Vintage 2007 California Red Wine.

Mr. T and I have a favorite spot by the creek under the willow tree where we like to splash in the water, play fetch in the grass or lay on our quilt and read on sunny days. If those times could be bottled, I think it would taste just like this wine. The thing I like most about Mirth is that, unlike many chardonnays, it's not oaky so you get to taste the fresh, frolicing flavor of the fruit.

Our Daily Red
I've never eaten a lily before (are they edible?), but Our Daily Red is similar to what I'd expect a lily might taste like: light, fruity, velvety and spicy. Plus, it's good for you and the environment because it's organic and has no detectable sulfites. (Although the issue of sulfites in wine is one that is under debate according to Kenton Erwin at Kenton Wines.)

The Future of Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor
If you've visited this blog before, you probably already know that my passion is to find good wines for under $10 to share with you. Until recently, I thought this could only be accomplished at discount grocers and gas stations, but I was wrong. From now on I'm going to try to have an open mind when it comes to hunting for delectable wines within my budget and to boldly go into high end grocers, wine shops and wineries to see what other fiscally friendly vintages I can find for us to swirl, sniff, sip and savor.